I dare say that most African Americans are of mixed race; every day we have DNA test results proving that.
Some of our mixing started on route to America. There are numerous recounts of rapes on the slave ships, and the intermixing continued on American plantations.
Intermixing was by design: plantation breeding programs (see the Quadroons and Octoroons in Creole Louisiana culture); coercion (rape), etc. Sometimes, whenever we were given the liberty to procreate with a partner of our own selection, it was by choice.
The product of rape by white slave holders and others complicit in the slave system (overseers, et al.), were still considered black (see the one-drop rule).
Ancestry.com commemorated the 4th of July, America’s Independence, by running an ad – through July 18 – with 29 descendants of the original seven signers. In the ad, people recite the words of the Declaration of Independence. Several are distinctively black and/or mixed race. They also recite parts of the Declaration. With pride. With dignity.
In defense of the ad, the executive creator, Tim Gordon of Droga5 said in a HuffPost interview, “In addition to the DNA research they are known for, Ancestry has an incredible genealogical database. We’re really humbled to have created a campaign that shines a spotlight on America’s modern-day diversity and our past,” he added. “Not only does the campaign highlight how connected and diverse we are, it proves that diversity isn’t just something we value, it is part of who we are.”
“Through my family, I am part of history,” said one of the black descendants featured in the video. She told ADWeek, “Through the recreation of that historic moment, I feel like I’m making history—it shows how much our country has changed and how diverse and beautiful America’s family really is.”
Oh my! Why, and when, is it ok to celebrate the fact of being a product of coercive sexual assault?
It was mind-blowing for me to watch these black folk looking back at the originators with affection.
Those original signers could not, would not, by the law of the land at that time, have acknowledged the legitimacy of their product with an African.
Don’t forget, that product was considered property, and counted as less than a full ‘man’!
And just the other day, Ancestry was back at it again. There he is, a black man touting with pride in being a descendant of Thomas Jefferson!
Yes, I am glad that the Jefferson family has finally acknowledged that their revered founding father had illegal sex with Sally Hemmings and that she bore more children to add to his property holdings.
Do black Americans now identify so closely with their white founders that we can so easily forget our origins?
Is this some form of Stockholm syndrome? To me, these ads, and other similar messaging designed to elevate the status of apparent mixed-race persons in order to celebrate America’s diversity and multiculturalism, is another whitewash of American history.
Worse, it represents a total adoption of one of the myths of America: the melting pot, thus negating the specific and unique culture of our ancestry.
I’m not yet ready for this narrative.
More than one hundred fifty years postemancipation, African Americans (blacks), are still not totally free. There are still too many disparities and deficiencies that need correcting before we should fully accept the moniker of mixed race as an implication of full inclusion.
At the end of July I am attending my much anticipated family reunion (on my father’s side). And while I have never hesitated to acknowledge that dad’s ancestors include some Scot/Irish men; a Swiss-German or two; and, who knows what other non-black sperm donors, I have always known, and said, “the best of me is African”.
We have never ‘celebrated’ our white forefathers. Nor do we deny their role. Theirs’ has just never been given much weight except to recognize how their DNA contributed to the variety of family racial markers: a wide variations of skin color; different hair textures; a range of nose widths, et al.
But what about those who do embrace their non-black ancestors?
That’s fine if the embrace is from unions of choice.
Last month I was asked by a white man if I was celebrating “Loving” week. I said, “no, not personally.” The gentleman was happy to tell me about his twenty year marriage to a black woman (I have an open, friendly face and am eager to have conversation with anyone).
I told him I was thrilled to hear about his love for his wife and their children; a union of choice.
Remember, in was not until the late 1960s that the Supreme Court ruled in “Loving” that interracial marriages were permitted throughout the country-and that their interracial children, would be ‘legitimate’. That was certainly not the case during the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence!
Live your life outside of a television commercial and stay woke.